Celestial events: Feb 2012

Starting about 23rd of Feb over next 20 days or so it would be possible for one to see all the planet visible to the naked eyes in one night. But the important period would be the first 10 days.

The new moon of Feb ’12 is on 21st and then on 22nd one might be able to see thin crescent of the Moon just above the western horizon. Then on the next day on 23rd the Moon with its crescent phase is just above Mercury. Then as the crescent Moon climbs above the horizon it first passes close to Venus on  25th and then it is a bit above Jupiter 28th.

This sequence of these events are depicted below on an image of the western horizon from Lala Lajpatrai Marg, Mumbai.

On 23rd crescent of the Moon is close to Mercury to it’s north. This would be a good chance for one to spot Mercury, as depicted above it will be a bit below and to the left of the crescent Moon.

Once you have spotted Mercury, mark its position. Though its position will change as the time moves on, the general direction will remain more or less the same.

On 24th the Moon is between Mercury and Venus.

On 25th the Moon is below and to the right of Venus, as shown above.  Then on 26th it will be between Jupiter and Venus (see below).

On 27th the Moon will be a bit above and to north of Jupiter.

Mars is in Leo constellation and rises about an hour after the sunset, above the eastern horizon. It can be identified by its reddish hue. It will be seen all most all through the night.  It is gradually moving close to star Regulus (Magha).

Saturn follows it after two hours. This is also an interesting configuration with a bright star Spica (Chitra) to it’s right and above and Arcturus (Swati)  to their far left.

Some other celestial events are given below. Timings are these events are in IST (Indian Standard Time = GMT +5h 30min), unless otherwise specified

d  h
 2 20  Aldebaran (Rohini) 5.7S of Moon
       The Moon is at its near full phase and your eyes would be
       troubled by its glare

 3 11  Moon its furthest North (22.4)
       Which means that it will be well above the horizon for
       the observers in the northern hemisphere.

 7 13  Mercury at its superior conjunction
       Would reappear later this month in the pre-dawn sky

 8 03:24   FULL MOON

 8 17  Saturn stationary

 8 23  Regulus (Magha) 5.4N of Moon
       Difficult to photograph - the Moon is too bright

10  7  Venus 0.3N of Uranus
       Good time to try for Uranus with pair of binoculars  

11 00  Moon at perigee (367922 km from the Earth)

12 17  Spica (Chitra) 1.7N of Moon

14 11  Mercury 1.2S of Neptune
       Astronomical fact of academic interest 

14 22:34  LAST QUARTER

15 23  Antares 4.5S of Moon

16 13  Moon furthest South (-22.3)

18 01  Pluto 1.5N of Moon 

20 01  Neptune at conjunction

21 23  Neptune 5.5S of Moon

21 04:05  NEW MOON 

23  5  Mercury 5.6S of Moon

26 00  Venus 3.1S of Moon
       Would be beautiful to watch and to photograph

27  8  Jupiter 3.8S of Moon
       Would be beautiful to watch and to photograph

27 19  Moon at apogee

30 04  Aldebaran 5.5S of Moon
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About skytonight

I am the present Director of Nehru Planetarium of Nehru Centre Mumbai, India I like to talk about astronomy and sky observations to general public.
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